Some of the most exciting names from London and Chicago’s resurgent jazz scenes are set to come together for two nights under the banner CHICAGOXLONDON on 18-19 October at the Total Refreshment Centrein North London.
The Windy City’s native scene has been given a boost by the aptly named International Anthem label, whose activities in the last couple of years have raised the profiles of newcomers such as sonically adventurous drummer Makaya McCraven and artfully-edgy trumpeter Jaimie Branch, while also shining new light on the prolific solo career of Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker. Its distinct approach accentuating the rawness and experimentation that’s been a hallmark of jazz from Chicago for the last century. This boldness is also mirrored in the current crop of UK-based artists who’ve been winning over a new generation of listeners with a refreshing mix of spiritual jazz, experimental electronica and hard-hitting grooves.
Things kick off on 18 October with McCraven lining up with UK tuba player Theon Cross Trio in a double-drum partnership with Moses Boyd and saxophonist Nubya Garcia, while trumpeter Jaimie Branch opens things up with a rare London showing from her Fly Or Die Ensemble with Tomeka Reid (cello), Jason Ajemian(bass), and Frank Rosaly (drums). The second instalment of this mini-fest on 19 October promises more fireworks as McCraven joins forces with rising star pianist Ashley Henry to co-headline with their RE:Ensemble, previewing material from the band’s upcoming release, with a stellar line up of saxophonist Binker Golding and bassist Dan Casimir and more. Support comes from Chicagoan cellist Tomeka Reid, with Italian bassist Silvia Bolognesi and New York-based violinist Mazz Swift – all playing music from their improv-fuelled folk-meets-classical album Not Living In Fear, which was released in June on International Anthem, who are also presenting this event along with EZH Mag.